A. Sutherland – AncientPages.com – In Norse mythology, Ull (also known as Ullr, Uller), is a patron of winter, a handsome skier, skater, hunter and excellent archer, whose extraordinary skills were often prized in skaldic poetry.
An illustration from Fredrik Sander’s 1893 Swedish edition of the Poetic Edda. Public Domain
He never missed the target, no matter how far and small it was. It’s good to call him into a fight. As he was the fastest skier ever known, no one was able to compete with him. From him, people learned this art.
Snorre Sturluson says about him briefly in his Edda:
“Ull is named one, son of Siv and stepson of Thor,” and associates him with the bow and with snow-shoes. In another place in Eddan, Snorre says that Ull can be called the Ski god, the Bow god, the Hunting god, and the Shield god.
Saxo Grammaticus (c. 1160 – c. 1220), the 12th-century Danish historian, theologian, tells us that he crossed the sea on a magic bone, which suggests skates.
Most depictions show Ull as the god of hunting, archery, and skiing, with a large quiver full of arrows, a huge bow, and often with skis. But he was also known as ‘god of the shield’ because if necessary, he could use it as a boat. According to tradition in the northern regions, the skis were sometimes made of bone, and they were bent upward, like the nose of a ship.
Some myths tell that the god Ull used to spell magical runes over the bone, turning it into a vessel that carried him above the earth and sea at his request in any direction.